Helga’s post #21 — Question: If you were on a desert island, which of the remaining books (if you could only have one) would you want to have to re-read over and over? Which of the books would you not mind using for fuel to start a fire?
That was the question put to the panel of judges for this year’s ‘Canada Reads’ contest. For those who didn’t follow it, the five final choices were:
Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese
The Age of Hope, by Richard Bergen
Away, by Jane Urquhart
Two Solitudes, by Hugh MacLennan
February, by Lisa Moore
The last two were the finalists, with February voted the winner of the 2013 contest. I thought I’d mention this because the topic of ‘reading’, and the importance of finding time for it even in the face of writing deadlines, has come up in a few posts recently.
But more than that, I would like to pay tribute to Canadian books and writers, which is a topic that for some reason has never come up on our blog. Never mind Canadian books and writers, how about BC?
As I listened to CBC Radio this last week, which was abuzz on the ‘Canada Reads’ contest and the Canadian book publishing industry, I learned some fascinating things. For example, did you know that we have over 30 publishers in our province? You can look them up at ABPBC, or the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia. The site has all kinds of interesting information and tidbits. It says for example that ‘Thousands of books are published in BC every year.’ Wow! I had no idea.
There is more to Canadian Publishing that is worth mentioning. Such as the annual event that celebrates the best crime and mystery writing in Canada. It’s held in Toronto at the end of May, where the Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing is handed out at a gala ceremony. There is an excellent website, ‘Crime Writers of Canada’ with info that could be useful to our group and our followers.
Another useful website is The Canadian Authors Association, subtitled ‘Writers Helping Writers’. Tons of good stuff here.
By the way, did you know that e-books sales are dropping off in favour of print? Apparently, over 90% of books sold are printed. The problem is, there are not enough book stores to sell them directly.
Then there is a story about Margaret Atwood collaborating on some zombie fiction. Atwood has been co-writing a serialized novel entitled The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home with U.K. writer Naomi Alderman. Their satirical horror story is set in a dystopian future in which some kind of virus has turned many people into zombies and revolves around a no-nonsense, garden-tool-wielding grandmother trying to reconnect with her teenage granddaughter after her mother turns into one of the undead and eats her husband. You can read it online and it’s hilarious (regardless if you are an Atwood fan or not). What I found interesting about this story is how the two writers collaborated (having co-written a novel with friend Paula in the past). Take a peek, it’s worth it.
All to say, there are lots of unsung heroes of Canadian authors published in our country. They may not have the sales numbers like those published in the US, but perhaps we need to remind ourselves occasionally that writing is not only about numbers.